13 Pages

the most important

Actually, the presidential clubs have grown in importance ever since they started in the early 1950s. Mitsubishi's Friday Club of the 26 core companies, Mitsui's Second Thursday Club of 19 companies, and Sumitomo's White Water Club of 16 companies are the central power. There the presidents of

It has been observed that the groupings have resulted in a 'oneset' syndrome whereby each group tries to re-create what the other does, and gain strength setting up a self-sufficient industrial and trading empire. This then leads to much unnecessary duplication of investment, and waste. If one group ventures into a specific field - say petro-chemical or electronics - the other groups invariably imitate the move, with the predictable result of excessive competition and overinvestment. Perhaps here is part of the explanation for the fierce competitive struggle and the strong investment thrust to enlarge the market share ahead of the rival. Yet this one-set syndrome has not only negative, wasteful aspects. In the presidential clubs these competitive oneset groups could evolve big strategic concepts and plan together huge new ventures, pioneering investments, which one company alone could never undertake, no matter how big it might be. The large groups thus could evolve something of a statesmanlike strategy of Japanese industrial and economic development - thus being true successors of the former zaibatsu which had built up Japanese industry before the war.